"Exile and Restoration in Jewish Thought" presents the history of an idea originating at the intersection of Judaic piety and the social history of the Jews: faith in a protective sovereign deity amid contrary conditions. Exiled primordially (Eden), during the Patriarchal era, in the sixth century bce, and from the first century to the twentieth, the Jewish experience of alienation has been the historical backdrop against which affirmations of divine benevolence have been constructed. While histories of Jewish thought have tended to accentuate the speculative creativity of medieval and modern Jewish philosophers, the intellectual tradition can come into focus only with attention to these thinkers' understanding of diaspora and persecution. Ralph Keen describes the distinguishing feature of Jewish thought as a religious hermeneutic in which the primitive promise made to Abraham is preserved not just as a pious memory but as a certain hope for eventual restoration.
Intended for readers with some familiarity with the history of philosophy, this book offers the historical context necessary for understanding the distinctively Judaic character of this tradition of thought, and elucidates the role of religious experience in the long process of negotiating between adversity and expectation. "Continuum Studies in Jewish Thought" presents scholarly monographs offering traditional and contemporary reflection on Jewish intellectual history, philosophy and thought. Books in the series will seek to address a range of concepts central to Jewish modern thought, evaluate the contributions of Jewish thinkers, and demonstrate a critical understanding of the relationship between Jewish thought and history.